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LHS’s Bartlett named new BHS principal, Hill moves to Gibbs

Bearden High School will be under new leadership when its doors open this fall.

Dr. John Bartlett, former Loudon County High School principal, is stepping in to fill the spot vacated when former BHS principal Lynn Hill made the move to Gibbs High School.

Bartlett said the opportunity to work at BHS was something he “couldn’t turn down.”

“Bearden, in my opinion, is the flagship school of Knox County, and being the flagship school, or potentially one of the flagship schools in Knox County, it is a great place to be. It is one of the most coveted principal jobs in the state.

“There are very few jobs in the state that would compare to Bearden High School and when these jobs come available and you get asked to fill one of those positions you can’t turn that down.”

Bartlett said one of his biggest accomplishments at LHS was to institute a Freshman Academy.

“We started the Freshman Academy approach because we had to grab freshmen and keep them from failing their first year so they can succeed. That first year is very difficult for freshman. So we started the Freshman Academy approach and have done quite a few things in that including some gender-based classrooms and things. We have done senior projects, we have done extensive dual-credit programs; anything we can do to help kids be successful we have done it,” he added.

When asked about the idea behind the gender-based classrooms Bartlett cited recent research findings and social pressures as key components of the idea.

“There is a lot of research out there right now that says females tend to learn math better from female teachers. Now, that is generic. That is a general finding of studies. That and with the freshman year and the social pressures on freshmen, a lot of our teachers liked that idea.

“It is just the freshmen and it is not all of their classes, just math, English and physical education,” he added.

Bartlett said most of the teachers have told him they would not go back to regular classes with the freshman and that most of the students were in favor of the classes as well.

“You will find students who didn’t like it and you will find students who loved it. There is a spectrum there.

“At first they did not like it because they wanted to be around the guys, or they wanted to be around the girls, but most of the students felt very comfortable in their classes after a couples of weeks and some students who were afraid to speak up or express themselves because of social pressures felt more comfortable doing so,” he added.

Rising BHS students need not concern themselves with freshmen academies or gender based classrooms just yet.

“Right now, the first year or two years, [he focus is] getting to know the community, getting to know Bearden and setting the expectation for learning. Every school has its own unique DNA and every community does.

“You cannot generalize. You have to see the problems you have at Bearden which are unique to Bearden and address those issues just like I had to see the problems that were unique to Loudon and address those ideas. You can’t be married to one idea or another you have to be flexible and adjust to the issues as they come up,” he said.

When asked what he would like the Bearden community to know about him, Bartlett kept it simple.

“I am about kids,” he said.

“We are going to hold students to high expectations. We are going to take care of them when they are here and we are going to prepare them for the world they are going to step into; whether that is college or to go to work, we are about preparing kids.”


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